Online Immortality

Colin was an imbecile when it came to technology. I remember one Sunday having to accompany him all the way into his Chancery Lane office to help attach a document to an email that he needed to be sent to a client. On numerous occasions I would receive flustered phone calls if he was working at the weekend asking me to solve various issues with his computer. Obviously without his trusty secretary Sylvia in the office with him he needed assistance on everything from how to create a pdf to how to send a fax. Bless him. He was a man from another era and would have fitted in quite fabulously to a law firm circa 1837. Col’s best friend Ed and him often joked about how they should set up a law partnership named Kafuffle & Blunder. In my head I saw it as a Dickensian style solictors with a cracked wooden painted sign swinging from a rusty chain, at an angle of course, above an old Victorian shop front. Kind of Jacob Marley and Ebenezer Scrooge stylee with Ed and Col seen through the window panes looking more like Bob Cratchit warming their fingerless gloved hands on their candles, their client list scant and their work chaotic.
Back in the 21st century, when the whole world went social media crazy Col struggled with the legal implications of having himself online. He eventually did join facebook but he admitted to me it was really just so that he could spy on old girlfriends to see if they had settled for someone bald and fat and not a jot on him. Hilarious. He was so honest about his intentions that I never thought to distrust him. He only ever said yes to about six friend requests (the Swedish ex among them) and was always asking me if people could tell when he said no, ever worried not to appear impolite. Well, impolite to other people that is. He kept my friend request pending for two years. I don’t think it was because he was hiding anything. I hope. I will put it down to the fact he only ever went onto Facebook once in a rare non-busy lunch hour blue moon and give him the benefit of the doubt.
Actually, I know he was hiding nothing now because when he died I had to shut him down online. I knew Col’s password for everything because he used the same one for everything, ever security conscious. So I logged in on facebook and LinkedIn and closed the accounts. I had to because I know people were getting freaked that he was coming up as a suggested friend or connection or whatever. I also saw that he had had messages from people who didn’t know about his death. I emailed them and let them know and then deleted his profiles. Otherwise he would have lived on online forever. The process left me with a strange feeling like I was spying on my dead husband. But left untouched I suppose the dead live on forever in cyber space. Odd how it can happen to even the most luddite among us.

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